The sound of the crackling fire and the mesmerizing dance of the flames in a fireplace captures the attention of young and old alike. One of the most desired features new home buyers request is a fireplace. Depending on the type of fireplace you choose, you have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Many fireplaces are not that efficient when it comes to actually heating a room. They can also be a major source of air leaks. According to house expert Bob Vila of “This Old House,” up to 8% of the warm air escapes through the chimney. Choosing the right fireplace or taking certain steps to mitigate the warm air loss can keep you from losing so much precious heat.

Heating may not be an issue for you. Many homeowners are more interested in the ambience a fireplace provides. Still, choosing the one that fits your lifestyle and decor is important and you want it to be as efficient as possible.

Gas Fireplaces

If you are looking for efficiency when it comes to saving time, the gas fireplace may be your first choice. This type of fireplace does not require hours or money spent getting wood. You do not even need to know how to get a fire started. Just turn it on and you have your fire.

Gas fireplaces are efficient also because you can zone the heat. Some homeowners put gas fireplaces in each room and turn on the fireplace in the room they happen to be in. In this scenario, the central heating can be minimal or even turned off completely if weather allows.

Maintenance for gas fireplaces is also minimal. You will not need to worry about removing the ashes or cleaning soot build up. Gas fireplaces can also be used when there is a power outage. One important thing to remember is that your gas fireplace will need an annual inspection to ensure that it is operating properly.

The cost of installing gas fireplaces can seem like a disadvantage, especially if you need to have a gas line installed. You may miss the crackling sounds and smell of the wood burning, but the ceramic logs in the gas fireplace can look very realistic.

Traditional Wood Burning Fireplaces

The wood-burning fireplace is the most luxurious fireplace you can have. Not only does it have all the ambience you can ask for in a fireplace, but it also has emission standards that must be met. These standards ensure the fireplace will be efficient in producing heat.

Wood-burning fireplaces can also be a source of heat if there is a power outage. They provide heat, light and a way to cook meals. You also have the advantage of choosing the type of firewood you use. Some wood burns long, some short and there are types that are more aromatic than others.

Along with all the advantages that come with the wood-burning fireplace are some disadvantages. The major disadvantage will be keeping up with the wood supply. It will need to be stored so that it will stay dry until you use it. Also, you cannot leave a wood-burning fireplace unattended. Warm ashes can re-ignite and sparking wood can throw embers out of the fireplace.

Insurance companies may raise your premiums if you do not have annual inspections to ensure your fireplace is in good working order. You will want to have annual inspections of the fireplace and chimney anyway for safety reasons.

Electric Fireplaces

Perhaps the most convenient type of fireplace is electric. These fireplaces are the least expensive, they can produce heat and light and they are portable. When you really want a fireplace and your space is too small or you are unable to install a gas or wood-burning fireplace, an electric fireplace is a reasonable substitute.

The downside of this type of fireplace is that the fire is obviously artificial, and they will not work during a power outage. Electric fireplaces work much like space heaters as far as heating a room is concerned, most electric fireplace manufacturers boast of their efficiency and low energy costs.


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Choosing the right fireplace depends on how you are going to use it and how much work you are willing to put in to maintain it. FireplacePro experts can help you make the best decision from our wide selection of fireplaces. Call us at 866-845-7845 today for more information.